Wednesday, 19 December 2012
I don't Believe it!!
This may be the silly season but this new proposal for an off shore airport must be a joke. If the powers to be thought Manston was just a bit too far away from London then why on earth are they considering this proposal. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20783474
Any off shore airport is problematic to say the least. We cannot even build an art gallery in the sea close to land (Turner Contemporary).
If the lunatics decided to build this it would require major road and bridge links in a hostile environment. It would need to be built several metres above sea level to take into account climate change and rising sea levels.
Placing an object like this in the sea would also change tidal flows in indeterminable ways to present more problems for shipping and coastal erosion.
The effect on wildlife and marine life would be devastating particularly so close to a bird reserve and seal colony.
It would also be subject to strong cross winds and gales not to mention flooding.
I think this must be another non starter like the other two suggestions to build in the Thames Estuary.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Merry Christmas from the Westbrook Turnstones
New Roosting Site Opens in the New Year
With the completion of the new Margate sea defence this will no doubt be an ideal roosting site for our winter visitors. What a stroke of genius to call it "Turnstone Quay". Whoever it was give them a big pat on the back.
In the meantime we wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas followed by a 'prosperous' New Year.
By the way the world will not end on 21st December, NASA says so.
If it does you won't be able to tell them the Mayans told you so.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Westgate to Westbrook
1920 Arial photos Britain from Above
A friend of mine put me onto this wonderful site. They allow us to have a look at our coast and see how it has changed. For comparison look at Google map link in links below. Also take a look at Simon Moores' aerial film of Westgate.
Also Max Montagut's
You will notice the loss of our chalk stacks of which we now only have a few. Our coast has been smoothed to protect against erosion.
There are many more to research at http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/asearch?search=thanet
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
What is going wrong? We have the bankers screwing us up and then nearly everyone has to pay. No doubt our chancellor is going to add to the 'Christmas Glee' with his budget today. Wow he says he is going to chase those multi national companies not paying UK tax, "please sir will you pay some tax".
I read yesterday that there will be no naming and shaming of these tax immoral companies. Why not? At least if we know who they are then people power will stop using them and buying their services. Maybe less drinking of expensive coffee will be good for us all.
Oh dear we have reduced the number of tax collectors. Oh dear we had better get them back so we can collect more tax.
Then we have had the long press enquiry into standards which proves that the press have been behaving badly. So what action? Self regulation? Well that was a real success before. Regulation backed by law "Oh no we must have a free press" I hear. Perhaps if the press followed real stories and named and shamed those in power who are 'having a laugh' at our expense then we may have more sympathy.
So stop fannying around and lets get back to our tradition of fair play.
Buzz is getting grumpy.
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Discovered this information on Thanet District Council's website by accident. http://www.thanet.gov.uk/environment__planning/pollution/radon_gas.aspx
Evidently most of Thanet is in a radon affected area as defined by the Health Protection Agency. It is possible that most properties are estimated to have a risk of 1-3% of being above the Action Level. The above flow chart suggests that properties are tested if they are classified as being in a radon Affected Area.
Report for your property
You can obtain a report on your property from http://www.ukradon.org/ the cost is £3.60 inc. VAT
If you want to test your property kits are available for around £40.
Protection from radon where levels are considered above safe varies depending on construction of property. The main solution appears to be adequate ventilation.
The Thanet District Council website just informs but gives no guidance or further information apart from links to other sites. Have Building Control incorporated an action plan to ensure all new builds have adequate ground protection?
Should all properties be tested in Thanet or is a risk of 1-3% acceptable? The above flow chart supplied with a property report suggests that they should. Radon can increase the risk of lung cancer especially to those that smoke or have smoked.
Should I be worried? I am not sure.
Monday, 12 November 2012
A Question of Balance
The government is about to pass legislation to stop vexatious applications to register land as a village green. This will mean that the balance of power will swing towards developers wishing to build on land which is open space enjoyed by local people.
The current legislation has saved valuable open spaces that would have been lost forever. However it has to be admitted that there have been a few vexatious applications that have caused legitimate developments problems.
The problem now will be that if legislation is changed it could open the doors to a loss of many areas of open space so important to the well being of local communities.
In many cases applicants find themselves up against the powerful forces of big business that have only profit as their motive. The current legislation gives local communities the power to fight back.
You don't know what you've lost until its gone.
Often areas used for informal recreation are not under threat until either a council wants to dispose of them or a developer wants to build on them. When this has occurred a Village Green Application has been the only way to save these valuable open spaces. The problem with the proposed changes to legislation, if I understand them, is that if a planning application has been submitted then the site in question cannot be subject to an application for a village green. Now this is thwart with danger as it would be so easy to submit planning applications without local people having prior notice. Would it not be the case that new Localisation Bill will be of no use as it will not have any teeth to stop unsuitable developments?
The government should consider very carefully any changes to the act which in most cases has served local communities well. Yes by all means consider the vexatious applications but let us put the onus of proof on those who are opposing an application. Let us hope common sense prevails.
For more information why not check out the Open Spaces Society Website follow link www.oss.org.uk/
Land in Westgate is currently subject to an application.
Land Adjacent to the car park on Westbrook Lower Promenade was registered as a Town Green in 2010.
Monday, 8 October 2012
Discover Family Activities in Kent and Sussex
Thanet coast and its beaches are featured on this new website devoted to families who want to get the most out of life. I would thoroughly recommend this site if you want to get out and about with the family or want to know where to take the grandchildren.
The site has a wealth of information and is very easy to use and acts as a trip adviser for activities.
Why not check it out for yourself click this link http://www.familyfriendlyfun.co.uk/
Monday, 17 September 2012
If you ever wondered why the Thanet Coast Project Volunteers do beach cleans then watch the video on link below. This happens around our shores too to our birds, fish and mammals.
Even if you aren’t a chest beating environmentalist, this is worth watching. There is no question we are poisoning our environment and leaving a monumental mess to our children and grandchildren.
The short video you will see (3:55) show an island (Midway) which is located in the Pacific Ocean, 2000 km coastline.
On this island, no one lives, only birds and yet ... See what happens
A short film that everyone should see and draw conclusions ... especially those that drop litter on our beaches.
On this island, no one lives, only birds and yet ... See what happens
A short film that everyone should see and draw conclusions ... especially those that drop litter on our beaches.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
New YouTube video showing Thanet Bays starting at Minnis Bay and finishing at Pegwell Bay. Thanet has a variety fantastic bays. Some are wild and quiet and others typical of a seaside resort. With beautiful chalk cliffs and miles of sandy beaches the Thanet coast is unique for its geology and wildlife. This video was shot in the 'Summer' of 2012 but wintertime is equally interesting with its visiting wildlife.
Monday, 16 July 2012
Planning for climate change up to the year 2150 may seem somewhat bizarre but there is a project involving Thanet just doing that. It is probably certain that all of us will not be around then so it is really a question of thinking beyond our own lives and looking towards those of our descendants.
What can we expect to happen?
The debate still goes on and those more clever than I have their theories. Are we really at a tipping point which could determine whether we become the new tropics or is the gulf stream about to be switched off by melting ice and we enter a new ice age? Remember we are on the same level as Alaska and no gulf stream would leave us with an Alaska climate.
Looking at recent weather patterns it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that we are moving to more extreme weather patterns. But then has this not been happening over the past millions of years? We have on a long timeline been a tropical region before and also an ice age.
Planning for climate change in coastal communities is therefore not easy or precise so it is necessary to look at many scenarios. Looking at the potential for warming and increased sea levels some of the things we are planning today are starting to err on the possibility of this happening. Take for instance our Turner Centre, it was thought prudent to raise its base higher to take into account increasing sea levels.
We are also seeing the the new Margate sea defence being built but again the design allows for an increase its height in the event of future increased sea levels.
Maybe we should also be looking at the Dreamland site. It would appear silly not to consider this site very carefully since much of it is low lying if not below sea level. If you consider sea level rises it would appear unwise to build housing on this site. Maybe the idea of a heritage theme park is a much better idea. At least rides would be much easier to shift than housing if the sea threatened the site. Maybe we should consider the idea of a marina.
Cheques and balances.
Climate change will bring threats and opportunities to our coastal community. Warmer weather could present more tourism. Perhaps we would be able to grow more exotic fruit and vegetables all the year round. On the other hand we could lose land and have to consider sea defences like those in Holland. The more you think about it the more threats and opportunities present themselves .
Involving the community.
A start has been made involving the community. Thanet Coast Project has had its first discussion group on the subject involving volunteer coastal wardens and more are planned. It is thought that the work of the wardens is essential in the planning process as their monitoring of our coast in terms of wildlife and use gives early indications of change.
Who knows what the future holds and the more I think about it I switch from 'am I bothered' I will not be here to maybe I have a chance to consider what we leave behind for our Children's Children's Children and that does worry me.
If you want to find out more visit
Saturday, 7 July 2012
Yesterday someone drew my attention to what looks like a very old wreck on the chalk reef to the West of St Mildred's Bay. I cannot say that I have ever noticed this on my rambles on the beach and across these rocks. It may be the fact that you cannot see it at beach level unless you locate the gulley in which it sits. However it is visible from the cliff tops. The photographs below were taken last evening. It may be that it had been covered up with sand which has now shifted.
Close up it is a wooden structure which appears to be a large keel of probably some 30 feet crossed by thick wooden beams.
It may be the wreck of an old wooden sailing barge but it would be interesting to know if that is the case. The truth is out there somewhere. Does anyone have any information?
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Forget San Francisco come to Margate
What a brilliant BBC series of five stories showing how love conquers everything called "True Love".
Is Margate now to become the love capital of the world? Forget San Francisco come to Margate.
This series was a beautifully crafted drama with the wonderful backdrop of our coast, its sunsets and magic light so famous in Turners paintings.
If you missed it get it on BBC's iPlayer you will not be disappointed.
Many people take for granted our lovely coast with its sandy beaches, fresh air, wildlife, cliffs and seascapes until a series like this showcases them. Margate has something special even in the winter when this was filmed.
So I suppose we are now "Margate as Seen on TV".
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Wild-flowers of the Undercliffe Nature Park
The recent rain has resulted in everything on site going mad. The summer wild flowers are now starting to get into full swing and with warmer days to come (hopefully) many more should appear. I hope you enjoy the pictures taken today. Maybe you will want take a walk on the wild side too.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Last week the Garlinge Cub Scouts enthusiastically planted trees on the Undercliffe Nature Park at Westbrook.
Yesterday (Tuesday) between 11am and 4pm two trees were stolen.
They were not of any significant value but when the community works hard to make Thanet a better place some lowlife has to go and spoil it.
In view of this it is unlikely that any further planting will be carried out.
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Wonderful news we have blue flags flying all around Thanet's Coast. There has been praise for Thanet District Council for its cleaning service. Yes it is brilliant and they do a good job.
I would however like to mention the work of The Thanet Coast Project in looking after our valuable coast and the help of volunteers that support this worthwhile project. Throughout the year they have been organising beach cleans by local volunteers as well as raising awareness to people and children about the care of our coast. Take a look at their website to see all the things they get involved in and the activities planned. www.thanetcoast.org.uk/
They have a large number of dedicated volunteer Coastal Wardens who adopt a bay and keep an eye on it reporting any incidents that occur many that may prevent us getting our blue flags.
Our coast is our major resource its good to know that someone is looking after it. Why not get involved too?
Thursday, 3 May 2012
The current drought conditions are certainly helping the saplings we planted last November on the Undercliffe Nature Park. Many are showing shoots and hopefully they will survive and establish themselves.
We may be complaining that our weather has taken a turn for the worse with loads of rain, however many of us cannot understand why we have a hosepipe ban when it is too wet to use one.
Evidently its all to do with the the underground water levels and this is not the right type of rain as we need winter rain. Its them damn pesky plants that are pinching it all because it is spring.
On the Isle of Thanet most of our water is supplied by boreholes into artesian wells which are filled by water draining down through the soil. The powers to be say that we should not concrete our drives or gardens because this prevents natural drainage. OK but how could the building be justified of Westward Cross where vast areas of previous farm land and hospital grounds have been concreted and tarmacked over. Large scale developments like this must have an effect on our water table. As a result we must be losing gallons of water which would normally replenish stocks.
This situation is also compromised by increased building of dwellings creating more demand on supplies. The outcome in the long term will require more expensive solutions to support this demand. In turn this will have a major effect on our future water bills. In particular desalination will be costly and increase our carbon footprint to a massive size 12.
Towns and villages used only be built where there was adequate water supply. Now we appear to totally disregard this in the planning stage. Does it not make sense to consider future housing developments and industrial sites only after a solution to the water crisis is found? With climate change it ain't going to get any better.
Monday, 16 April 2012
I think not. The result of an allegedly 'Happy' meal dumped at the lookout point at St Mildred's Bay. How can so much rubbish be created from a takeaway meal. This is a sight that is appearing all over Thanet. Its not just the Big 'M' but others too.
If these companies can brainwash people into eating their 'food', then why can they not brainwash these people to dispose of their waste responsibly. This is pollution on a grand scale.
Not only is this a social cost it also has an economic cost to the community. Thanet District Council do a brilliant job clearing up this mess but that has to be at a cost to all of us. I would agree that we appear to have a lack of bins in some areas so maybe some of these fast food companies should sponsor the supply of more bins.
If the litter droppers were caught and fined they may refrain from being so thoughtless. Maybe Thanet Council could offer for tender jobs catching offenders and imposing fines on a commission only basis. Or even clamping them with release fees charged. I am sure however these would be illegal under European Law somewhere.
This is an increasing problem and needs a tough policy to combat it. Poor Super Hero, Thanet Girl must be exhausted.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Easter at Westbrook
Sanderlings between Westbrook and St Mildred's bay.
No doubt they are having a break before travelling up to 10,000 kilometres to the High Arctic for the summer to breed.
We wish them a good trip and hope to see them trotting around later this year on Thanet's beaches.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Should Supermarkets do more?
As Thanet's large supermarkets have started breading faster than rabbits on Viagra should they not take more responsibility for the rubbish they generate in the form of packaging.
I heard a story of a lady who went into a large supermarket and at the checkout proceeded to remove all the packaging from her shopping. When asked what she was doing she said she did not want it.
Thanet District Council do not recycle plastic packaging. Apart from plastic bottles, paper and tins there is so much confusion about anything else. Thanet does not give recycling collections the same a priority as Dover District Council who collect and recycle practically everything including all plastic and even food waste. I heard that they also earn money from doing so. Check out http://www.dover.gov.uk/waste__recycling/new_service.aspx
If our council is unable to get their act together should we be asking supermarkets to do more?
In France supermarkets have recycling facilities for all types of packaging. Why not in England? Surely it is for the supermarkets convenience of operation that everything is packaged so why can it not be returned to them to recycle if councils are unwilling to take responsibility.
All this packaging is using up the world's valuable resources and much of it ends up in landfill or as litter. The amount of plastic in our seas has drastic consequences for marine life.
Most plastic is made from crude oil so does it not follow that if we used less then fuel would be cheaper?
Another major use of packaging is fast food. I have not worked out whether people who consume takeaway from well known outlets are those that are incapable of disposing of their rubbish responsibly or the fact that eating this 'food' makes them incapable of doing so. The evidence can be found in many of the car parks where it has just been chucked out of their car windows.
Thanet District Council do a brilliant job of clearing up after these but it all costs money and resources. I do not know if it is true but I was told that every piece of litter dropped costs £5 to clear up. That is a shocking waste of money if this is true.
Another area of concern is the food we waste. It does not seem right that much of the world is starving, yet we have so much waste. Again I point a finger at supermarkets who reportedly throw away so much food. I also find that the tendency towards multi-buys (e.g. BOGOF or two for £X) disturbing. Is it me or is the price of the first item more expensive than before in order to make these offers appealing. This encourages shoppers to buy more than they need and no doubt adds to food waste. I hate this as I feel it is manipulation on a grand scale .
Road to Hell
Maybe I am turning into a grumpy but I hate the way that large corporations are attempting to control our lives. Maybe those camping out at Turner have a point. As companies, banks and utilities get larger they dictate how we pay our bills, how we shop and ultimately how we live our lives and we are much the poorer for doing so. Maybe Chris Rea is right and we are on the Road to Hell.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
During the last three winters we have been witnessing, during cold weather, the death of large numbers of Velvet Swimming Crabs often called Devil Crabs because of their red eyes.
Volunteer Coastal Wardens from the Thanet Coast Project have been braving the cold over the last two weeks checking our shores and bays for any casualties due to the cold weather. To date non have been reported.
This is a relief as populations of this specie had taken a real hammering in previous years.
There are a number of theories why we have not seen this devastation this year. It may be that the tidal conditions were not the same as previous years. This year the cold weather did not coincide with spring tides and therefore the low water mark did not reach the feeding areas normally frequented by these crabs. It may be that the population has not re-established itself yet following previous disastrous years or maybe they have just become wise and stayed in deeper water where they are less likely to be affected by changes in temperature.
Whatever the reasons Coastal Wardens will be continue to monitor our bays for any future incidents.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Really cold today but well worth wrapping up and getting out. Walk on Promenade today rewarded by loads of wading birds on the shore. Some photos taken on walk.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Latest news reported in the Guardian is that Euro-tunnel are buying three of the ships.
According to the article:
"Eurotunnel has declared that it will lend a hand to its struggling rival by buying three of its ferries".
Not sure of the logic here unless it is to stifle competition.